While the forthcoming album remains true to Alex’s sonic aesthetic, it is a release that clearly exemplifies a moment of artistic evolution and expansion in both influence and the writing and recording process. Alex found himself frequently revisiting Paul Thomas Anderson and old anime films while writing and drawing influences from Stereolab, Broadcast, Pavement, Arthur Russel and Kate Bush, to videogame soundtracks such as ‘EarthBound’ and ‘Zelda Ocarina Of Time’.
“I felt more confident saying things in my songs I actually want to say this time. Things I was scared to sing about before seemed a lot easier for these songs.” Perhaps this is due to the year he spent re-working and perfecting demos until they blossomed into fully-formed, dynamic songs - a process far from the more visceral, off-the-cuff approach he’d taken with his earlier work. “All of my music before has essentially just been demos I’d made at home, and then they end up being records.” This time around, Alex took time and space for himself to discover a greater level of expressive intent behind his lyrics and musical compositions.
A contrast between sound and lyrical meaning is a friction retained consistently across the album’s 12 tracks and this album-long meditation on duality is certainly intentional as Alex explains, “I’m hoping people notice that this is a somber record, but not meant to be a depressing record. I want someone to listen to my music in headphones in their bed if they are having a bad day or to put it on in the background at a house party to heighten the mood.”
It’s fitting, really, that this album be self-titled, as it is a kind of proclamation of self for Alex, an expression, or admonition really, of who Alex Calder is - the good and the bad, the sad and the goofy, someone who loves to joke around but is still capable of being serious and expressing himself more personally. For Alex, these dualities are not contradictory but almost symbiotic - “I feel like the two go hand in hand. It’s a classic sad clown thing.”
Originally signed to EMI in 1982, their first and only single, “You Could Be More As You Are” was produced by legendary Matumbi, Slits and Pop Group producer Dennis Bovell in Kraftwerk’s studio in Cologne. The fusion of husky female vocals, Eastern in- struments, dub and African music aesthetics, drum computers and synthesizers remains unique to this day. EMI cancelled the project upon its release. Saâda Bonaire compiles two songs from the original EMI single plus 11 previously unreleased songs recorded between 1982 and 1985. Also included are never-before-published photos and in-depth inter- views with band members and a full gatefold cover for those dedicat- ed vinyl buyers. These lost recordings from the early 80s still sound fresh on today’s dance floor.
FORMAT INFORMATIONColoured LP Info: Captured Tracks Tenth Anniversary Edition, Pressed on Green Vinyl
FORMAT INFORMATIONColoured LP Info: Captured Tracks Tenth Anniversary Edition, Pressed on White Vinyl
To make Indigo , Tatum confronted the Man vs. Machine dichotomy by seizing on the surrounding synergy. Finding the right people to work on the album was integral, as was the proper place to record it. So, Tatum booked four days at legendary Sunset Sound’s Studio. Afterwards, producer Jorge Elbrecht (Ariel Pink, Gang Gang Dance, Japanese Breakfast) and Tatum built out the rest of the album’s sound by adding new parts and repurposing sounds from Tatum’s demos. The resulting Indigo is its own cyborg world, utilizing the artful mechanisms of human touch with the precision of technology to create the classic, pristine sound Tatum had been seeking his entire career. From the opening drum beat, chiming guitar, and sweeping synth of “Letting Go” to Tatum’s Bryan Ferry vocal turn on “Oscillation” to the ’80s-heavy blips, clicks, and strut of “Partners in Motion,” it’s clear that Indigo is at once vintage Wild Nothing and a bold, new leap into a bigger arena.
FORMAT INFORMATIONColoured LP Info: Transparent Blue vinyl.
After their “cassette in a tube” ploy worked for a John Peel play, the band released a cassette on In Phaze and disbanded not long after. Here, Bona Dish are a rediscovered gem with The Zaragoza Tapes, showcasing the zest and spontaneity that gripped the UK DIY scene of the time; their music easily stands the test of time against contemporaries like Television Personalities, The Homosexuals and Marine Girls.
FORMAT INFORMATIONColoured LP Info: Pink vinyl, limited to 500 copies.
Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.
FORMAT INFORMATIONColoured LP Info: Translucent purple vinyl. Limited to 500 copies.
Their reputation as a fervent live act is ever-growing, with the band being asked to share stages with the likes of Parquet Courts, METZ, Ought, Buzzcocks, Hookworms, The Cribs and more. Their Third Article EP, produced by Hookworms’ MJ, was released at the end of 2017 on the band’s own Blank Ad label followed by their first European tour supporting Metz. Third Article finds the band at their most captivating, with track ‘Silk Spirit’ exhibiting Luciel’s mesmerizing spoken drawl, paired with the steady unrelenting wall of sound from Rob Riggs on bass, and Mike Ainsley on drums. After watching the band’s self-made video for ‘Silk Spirit’, Mike Sniper, founder of Brooklyn independent label Captured Tracks, was immediately hooked. The band signed to Captured Tracks shortly after.
Now, having just completed a tour supporting Ought, the band are releasing their commanding new 7-inch single ‘Twelve Divisions of the Day’, featuring a B-side remix that strikes with as much fervor as the original but leaves a different bite mark. As they commence a slew of May and June shows, including an invitation to play Robert Smith’s Meltdown Festival, the band are poised to take their mark as one of the most visceral and exciting new bands on the scene.
It was clear from the release of Chastity’s first demos that this was not “another punk band that can operate at only one speed .”Always concerned with the trending lack of accessibility and inclusivity in public spaces for the arts, the first Chastity show was held in Williams’ own bedroom where, packed wall-to-wall, the police were quickly called. But after the project’s second show supporting DC punk band Priests, Chastity was off to the races, sharing stages with the likes of Metz, Chelsea Wolfe and Fucked Up. All without a full length recording out.
Since signing with Brooklyn label Captured Tracks, Chastity has re-released those initial demos, along with 2 new singles and an EP, stoking the anticipation of Chastity’s debut full length record, Death Lust.
Death Lust follows the plot of suffering to survival. The album begins on a tortured note with ‘Come’ and builds toward the plummeting finale of ‘Chains’, evolving from start to finish in a crescendo of severity. Chastity explains, “Death Lust is about growing up death obsessed. It’s about the pain that it takes but the capacity that we have to overcome.”
FORMAT INFORMATIONLP includes MP3 Download Code.
The next single, “Ramona,” came on the cusp of fall of 2010, cool and laid-back as it was bursting with rhythms that cried out for dancing and the warmth of summer. “After the Moment” soon followed, a New Order-esque direct ‘80s groove of a track that was undeniable. These three tracks would soon come together to form the backbone of Craft Spells’ debut LP, Idle Labor, released in the spring of 2011. It’s a debut of shimmering indie pop, nodding to the early 80s in the way that only someone in their early 20s can; a time when you’re brave and brazen enough to put your own spin on past impulses without a second thought and the result is a thing of beauty.
Facing the sort of obstacles that might, understandably, derail a fledgling band’s career, MOURN instead forged ahead, and in typical fashion managed to harness their swirling anger, frustration, and passion from the past 2 years into new music. Now, only just recently freed from their legal binds, MOURN is back in full force to share their 3rd full-length album, Sorpresa Familia.
Ironically, the obstacles and injustice MOURN have faced in recent years has provided a fertile foundation for new songs that display a palpable maturity and evolution, while retaining every bit of the fiery angst and attitude that has shaped their sound from the start. Chock full of tension and pent up frustration, Sorpresa Familia feels tonally right at home within MOURN’s catalog. But it also feels distinctly separate - more refined, more intentional. Railing against greedy businesses, exploitation, fake friends, dishonest figures of authority, and ever complicated global politics, it’s an album of decidedly higher stakes than their past outputs, delivered with the newfound poetic grace of a band rising up out of the ashes of those who stood in their way.
STAFF COMMENTSBarry says: Sorpresa Familia lurches from familiar but brilliantly executed angular indie-rock into more introspective moments, only to break out once again into rhythmic percussive madness. A superb maelstrom of driven anthemic guitars and aggressive vocal swathes.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLP includes MP3 Download Code.
In the summer of 2017, Cohen moved to a farm in countryside Victoria, Australia, to record and self-produce her second album with engineer and partner-in-crime, Kate ‘Babyshakes’ Dillon. There, amidst flocks of screeching white cockatoos and herds of Black Angus cows, they etched the beginning of Pink Is The Colour Of Unconditional Love. The record was almost complete when the band was invited to join Foxygen’s U.S tour, compelling the girls to finish the album on the road. Armed with a microphone and an interface, Dillon and Cohen captured the final touches on a boat in England, the coast of Portugal; in the mountains of Southern Italy, cafes of Mexico, and finally in Venice Beach, Los Angeles.
Pink Is The Colour is an expansive and exciting body of work, showcasing Cohen’s unusually refreshing twists on pop arrangements. ‘Baby’ was born in the graveyard of unrequited love, while ‘Music Machine’ became a swagger of sultry defiance set in LA. Throughout the new album Cohen creates complex and sugary backing vocals. These signature vocal arrangements—contoured with classic harmonies and nostalgic melodies—form songs remarkable in their originality. Honest heartache is woven into glory throughout the record, and during eleven tracks a candid, almost ethereal self-portrait of its songwriter emerges. For Gabriella Cohen, it’s an epitaph of electric wonder, and a definitive fact: Pink is the Colour of Unconditional Love.
“A modern psychedelic prophet who layers drawling vocals, heartache, and healing over a background of Velvet Underground-esque guitar distortion.” - Rookie Mag
Their self-titled debut shows a self-assured Blouse unveiling a sound all their own: textural swaths of guitar and wavy keys coupled with Hilton’s powerfully alluring voice, her words guiding each song as it unfolds, as if a dream.
FORMAT INFORMATIONColoured LP Info: Captured Tracks now represses a limited edition of Blouse on coke bottle clear vinyl, to celebrate the label’s 10th Anniversary.
Peter (keyboards/vocals), Amanda (bass/vocals) and Tom (drums) met while studying Jazz Performance at the University of Auckland. After living abroad, completing Law School and/or performing in a myriad of other music-related projects, they started Wax Chattels, working up their material for a year prior to recording. “We tracked the songs as a live band to capture the energy of the live show, restricting ourselves to instruments which we play live and keeping all production to a minimum to focus on the band’s sound itself.”
Live, they are not to be missed. While they do come across as a “rock” band, it’s coming from so many places so quickly that you’re kind of left wondering where you’re going. The opening of the one-chord tour de force “Concrete” begins in a downright frightening and jarring place and ends up in a Krautrock-via-Suicide crescendo. It was after a particularly insane live performance that they were signed by both Captured Tracks and Flying Nun Records on the spot.
Wax Chattels recall the other side of Kiwi underground rock history that’s a bit less sunny and a bit less jangly. The small, yet constantly groundbreaking nation has put forth a new act and album that demands your attention.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLP includes MP3 Download Code.
Losing Count is the culmination of a personal goal Avalos set two years ago: to see through the completion of a collection of music all his own. “Artistically, I think the sole purpose of this record was to just do everything. An exercise in realizing a full concept without seeing what the end result would be.” As it turns out, that end result is a 13-track experimental pop album that packs a large punch with influences ranging from early new wave acts like Depeche Mode and OMD to Frank Ocean.
With each track draped in whimsically looping layers and interspersed with the pervasion of old radio samples, buzzing, and hums to create a tate of constant white noise, Avalos successfully conveys a state of latent anxiety through danceable, weirdo pop. In this way, Losing Count becomes an exercise in synthesizing the collective experience of today’s political and cultural climates into a fully individualized expression.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLP includes MP3 Download Code.
Portland, Oregon’s Reptaliens is the husband and wife team of Cole and Bambi Browning. The couple met on a basketball court while filming a music video for a mutual friend’s band that didn’t exist. The two knew almost instantly they were soulmates; after dating for six months they married under a blanket of smoke from the season’s forest fires.
Named in reverence for their interests in cult mentality transhumanism, and conspiracy theories, Reptaliens quickly evolved from a bedroom recording project to a full-fledged band that explores fringe pop culture through analogue synthesizers, electric guitars, melodic basslines and Bambi’s lulling vocals. The pair’s songwriting mirrors their strong connection. As Cole says, “Bambi and I write all the music. Sometimes we work together to construct songs and sometimes I’ll come home from work and she’ll have a masterpiece finished and perfectly crafted. We both add to each other’s songs and none really seem completely Bambi’s or mine. We do everything together.”
Inspired by all things science fiction, writers like Philip K. Dick and Haruki Murakami and music ranging from Paul McCartney / Wings to African artists Francis Bebey and Nahawa Doumbia, the band creates psychedelic, chameleonic dreamscapes that fall sonically and visually somewhere between abstract expressionism and surrealism. These ideas and influences all coalesce on ‘FM-2030’ - named after the renowned transhumanist writer and philosopher - the band’s debut album on Captured Tracks.
Thematically based around obsession, Bambi says she “gravitates toward other people’s obsessions and draws inspiration from them. I like to think of method acting and personify myself as the obsessor, writing from their perspective. I love pretending and creating around these personalities.” This play-acting on record translates to the band’s sincere and theatrical live performances that involve homemade costumes and on-stage guest appearances from a giant reptile man.
‘FM-2030’ was recorded at famed Portland studio The Green House with Riley Geare. As longtime active participants in the Portland music scene, Bambi and Cole called on a number of talented musicians for Reptaliens’ recordings and live performances, including Julian Kowalski (guitar), Bryson Hansen (synth) and Tyler Vergian (drums). However, Cole is quick to note, “Reptaliens is a concept more so than a band or any group of individuals. Those who are willing to let go and open themselves up to new experiences will be rewarded and emboldened. Those who want to turn away will have no choice but to look. The truth is out there.”
With 2016’s ‘Wishlist’ EP - recorded to tape at the home of band mate Ty Ueda - Lina proved an ability to craft simple, introspective and succinct songs, each one a pulsing glow leaving you both hollow and whole, alone but never lonely. It is on Lina’s debut album ‘Won’ that we reap the full rewards of this newfound confidence in expression and rejection of internal hesitation. “The writing doesn’t necessarily get easier, but I feel more comfortable tapping into emotions and going to those places that need to be written about. ‘Won’, as it turned out, is the product that I have been hearing and picturing in my head as I write and listen to music.” It is the product of what happens when you push past the fear of what it means to think out loud - to become accountable for your internal struggles by way of manifesting your ideas into songs that are then free to grow apart from you, to exist on their own while always remaining specifically implicative of you. Now backed by a full band, each track manages to remain piercingly intimate, sometimes brief and always honest, while gaining a wholly new sense of gestation both sonically and lyrically.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLP includes MP3 Download Code.
With ‘New Work’, Dinner had a wish to do things differently. “I just needed to get back to the approach I used when I was still self-releasing cassettes, back in Copenhagen. I spent way too much time on the previous record. I was sitting in front of a computer-screen alone for seven months working on it, obsessing over it. This time I wanted to work very fast in order to think less. I wanted to collaborate more. I hoped that other people’s presence would keep my perfectionism in check.”
Dinner enlisted Josh da Costa (Regal Degal, Ducktails) to produce the album with him. He and Josh worked in the night time at off hours at a studio in an industrial part of downtown LA. The album’s songs were recorded on the spot with no preparation time. In-between studio sessions, Dinner recorded and overdubbed material in his apartment on an early 80s 4-track recorder.
“We did very little editing, we just tried to record what was there. You’ll hear a lot of first-takes on the record. The best part of the process was driving home early in the morning though the empty streets of LA, listening to the night’s recordings. Because it was such an immediate experience.”
The two previous Dinner releases were recorded in Berlin and Copenhagen with mostly European musicians. This isn’t the case on ‘New Work’, which features performances by Andy White (Tonstartssbandht), Charlie Hilton (Blouse), Rori McCarthy (Infinite Bisous, Connan Moccasin), Staz Lindes (Paranoyds) and a duet with Sean Nicholas Savage. “A lot of my favorite music is American. I thought it would be fun to go a little bit less Euro on this one. I’m plenty Euro by myself, some might say. I wanted to add a different color.”
Asked to describe the sound of ‘New Work’ after the first listen, Captured Tracks owner Mike Sniper texted: “Julian Cope, 60’s Baroque Pop, early 70’s Canterbury Sound, Japan, Ryuichi Sakamato, ‘Raspberry Beret’-era Prince... Need to listen a few more times before anything concrete comes!”
‘Expect The Best’, their fourth for Brooklyn’s Captured Tracks, sees Widowspeak finding balance between opposing forces: darkness and light, quiet and loud, tension and calm.
Written while singer and songwriter Molly Hamilton and lead guitarist Robert Earl Thomas were living in Tacoma, WA after previous stints in upstate New York and Brooklyn, so much moving around - specifically the move back to the place she grew up - was the catalyst for a record concerned with self-examination and the sense of dread that comes from feeling adrift (‘Dog’).
Whether navigating the anxieties of the digital age (‘Expect The Best’), struggling for motivation (‘When I Tried’), or critiquing wanderlust and aspiration (‘The Dream’), the songs recognize there’s no going back in time. Hamilton’s lyrics explore the space between regret and anticipation, reconciling the desire to dwell with a need to ‘expect the best’, even as the best seems unlikely.
Although Widowspeak’s previous two records - ‘Almanac’ (2013) and ‘All Yours’ (2015) - were conceived as a duo, ‘Expect The Best’ finds them playing to the specific strengths of their current touring incarnation. The album exhibits a palpable energy that reflects the band’s live shows. The band navigates dynamic changes with subtlety and restraint; the nine tracks brim with both wide-eyed optimism and resigned melancholy. Their usual palette of dusty guitars and angular twang are still front and centre but now with a 90s homage, even if abstractly. It’s their heaviest record to date, but never loses the sense of intimacy Widowspeak are known for.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLP includes MP3 Download Code.
“It was at the Showbox in Seattle were I first heard songs that were going to be on Yellow. My knowledge of Naomi’s live repertoire was that of a dedicated fan, so when I heard something unfamiliar from them, I knew I was witnessing a special moment. I was watching their set with my brother, and after a few songs we glance at each other knowing that we were finally passing into the Yellow era. Wherever Naomi Punk had been going this whole time, they had just arrived.
“So now I listen to this masterpiece in the comfort of my home, and still I’m standing there at the Showbox, watching one of my favorite bands in awe and joy. I’m listening to the sounds of three hearts that have synchronized into rhythm the speed they’ve been accelerating to since they met. I’m listening to the sound of Olympia and America and planet Earth and 2017 and suddenly it doesn’t feel so gloomy, and I feel so lucky to have met these boys and to have been touched by their music and to call them friends. And I just hope the world realizes how lucky it is to have them.” - Andrew Savage (Parquet Courts)
FORMAT INFORMATION2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.
Over the course of the album, the 13 songs explore connections between language, self-awareness, introspection and unconventional serenity.
A nod to the collective unconscious by way of personal reflection. Experiential wisdom filtered through a tin of mints and a fresh pair of chinos.
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY / Denton, TX.
“B Boys have a knack for brevity, establishing ideas and concepts and moving on before they get stale” – Exclaim.
“Warm and heavy with grit, the tracks on the EP build on the foundation of many classic punk acts from Wire to Parquet Courts, with flangy guitars and ambivalent vocals over tight, frantic rhythms” – Stereogum.
“Wildly charismatic vocals, sudden textual shifts, snappy song lengths and driving groove across the board” – Popmatters.
'Baby You're Out' grows from a more off-centred rhythmic approach but undergoes a shuffling transformation to swoon into the folky redux of the main choral refrain, it's an approach that could be jarring but in the capable sonwriting hands of the man himself, it predictably goes by without a hitch. Speaking of transformations, Mac seems to undergo a tranformation himself from shuffled syncopator into sleazy lounge singer in the oozingly laid-back 80's synth sizzle of 'For The First Time'. Decending digital pads and simmering DX7 tines coalesce into a melting-pot of reverb and polyester garments.
There are pieces here like 'Sister' that really display the no-frills talent that has endeared us all to him for so long, comprising of hazy pitch-shifted guitar sitting right back in the mix while heartbreaking lyrics swim ever so briefly around the wistful plucking. 'Dreams From Yesterday' oozes with crackling tubes and hazy summer dreams to counteract the minimal aura of it's precident. And so it continues, from warm and full-bodied to cold and reticent, there isn't a bad moment here, only different emotions conveyed through a variety of techniques, and every one of them perfectly executed.
STAFF COMMENTSMine says: "Mac DeMarco must be some kind of joke act, right?" Has this thought ever crossed your mind? I came across it in a festival review and I felt for the poor guy who just didn't seem to get what Vernor Winfield McBriare Smith IV (I'll give you a moment to let that settle in...) is all about. If you can relate but somehow feel intrigued, 'This Old Dog' is your perfect entryway into the wacky world of Mac DeMarco. It seems like everyone's favourite sleaze man is trying to show us that he has grown up, without having lost an inch of his quirkiness. It is okay to be vulnerable sometimes, the songs about his troubled relationship with his father seem to confess, just don't bury your head in the sand. 'This Old Dog' is stripped back, simpler and therefore easier to digest than his previous outings. It's dreamy and reflective but always light-hearted, and will leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling in your chest. Careful, though, you might feel like you're floating on a cloud.
FORMAT INFORMATIONColoured LP Info: Indies exclusive red vinyl.
Split 7” by Homeshake & Alex Calder.
All Proceeds go to the International Refugee Assistance Project.
Montreal bedroom pop artists Homeshake and Alex Calder dig into their vaults of unreleased music for a good cause.
Homeshake — the project of Peter Sagar — contributed the unreleased Fresh Air outtake titled ‘Nankhatai’, while Calder offers up a new cut called ‘Stuck Inside’.
“‘Nankhatai,’ Homeshake’s contribution is named for a delicious Indian biscuit, though the track itself has a vintage and spectral sadness. Calder’s ‘Stuck Inside’ is about earworms you can’t stop listening to, and the song’s addictive, spiralling noisiness might make it another track that gets stuck on repeat” - The Fader
Limited Edition of 500 Copies.
Not sure where to start with The Cleaners from Venus? Look no further than this limited edition compilation of tracks culled from across the artist’s catalog of 9-plus albums.
The legendary lo-fi band began in the small town of Wivenhoe, southeast England at the turn of 1980s. essentially the project of Martin Newell, a rock singer and part-time kitchen porter with a love of sunny 1960s pop music, punk rock and musical comedy.
He never cared much for any kind of musical rule book and broke new ground with music that garnered a cult following. Newell created a highly-influential sound that continues to inspire to this day.
The absolute opposite of a musical perfectionist, the founder Cleaner believed that great pop was to be had by doing things quickly, in a slapdash fashion and by “fumbling around in the dark in search ofhappy accidents”.
“An accomplished masterpiece of guitar pop home recordings rivalling the work of R. Stevie Moore and Chris Knox, among others” - Pitchfork
“The most extensive of singer/songwriter Martin Newell’s various projects, Cleaners from Venus recorded some of the finest -- and most neglected -- British pop/rock of the 1980s..” - All Music
“[Newell’s] single-mindedness is responsible for the timelessness of these recordings, as well as their greatness. Issues of sound quality pale once the near-genius of some of these sketches reveals itself. Think of the history of pop music poured into a blender and then drip-fed in real-time into a budget cassette recorder and you might begin to get the idea. It’ll take years to fully appreciate them; better start now” - Record Collector.
Limited to 500 copies for the UK and Eire.
The album’s raw, personal side could be traced back to its place of birth at Dillon’s parents’ place in the country, or to the Brisbane streets the songs were composed in. The songs are soaked in the kind of aching nostalgia that is tinged with equal measures of sadness and triumph. On ‘I Don’t Feel So Alive’ Cohen warns: “This could be the last time we get together” and on one hand it’s melancholy but it’s in the spirit of endings that are also beginnings. After finishing the record, Cohen and Dillon hit the road down Australia’s East Coast, from Brisbane to Melbourne, a truck full of instruments and gear following in their wake.
There are two sides to Cohen’s coin though - for every moment of raw, cutting emotion, there’s one of otherworldly ethereality. It’s what makes the record feel timeless, which doesn’t mean old-fashioned - it means that the vocoder on ‘Feelin’ Fine’ and the fuzzy, frenzied drums of ‘Alien Anthem’ don’t feel at odds with the dreamy, ambling melodies and old-school ethos at the heart of Cohen’s songwriting.
‘Full Closure And No Details’ is a definitional labour of love: when Cohen talks about her collaborators she sounds like she’s talking about her family - her bass player and backing singers, ring-ins that recorded after Cohen and Dillon finished up in the country, are ‘dear friends’; and Dillon is her ‘sister’. The songs were written on Cohen’s grandpa’s nylon string guitar and ‘Piano Song’ was recorded on Dillon’s parents’ old, out-of-tune upright, the same piano she learned on as a child.
“‘Full Closure And No Details’ is quietly impressive - a slowburning fusion of defiance and heartache.” - The Guardian
“I was always really interested in singing before songwriting. I didn’t always have the confidence to write,” Molly says, “Initially it was more about finding the right songs to complement my voice.” That voice is the first thing you’ll notice on Burch’s debut album, ‘Please Be Mine’. It’s smoky, with an incredible range, effortlessly evocative of her early influences. It was in Asheville where Burch would meet guitarist Dailey Toliver, who plays on her debut and who inspired much of its music.
Searching for a bigger pond, Burch moved to Austin, Texas in an effort to stand on her own two feet. There Burch began to write her own music in earnest, with the lovelorn Everly Brothers and Sam Cooke as her songwriting guides. Joined by Toliver in Austin a year later the two connected with Dan Duszynski of Cross Record and they recorded all the songs on ‘Please Be Mine’ at his idyllic studio in Dripping Springs, Texas. Motivated by the hourly rate, Burch and her band recorded all the basic tracks and vocals live in one room and in one day, with minimal overdubs for keys and back-up vocals happening a day later. A difficult task for any talented musician, it becomes more mind-blowing when you hear her belt it on tracks like ‘Downhearted’ and ‘I Love You Still’. A debut album of beautiful, wistful love songs of loss, loneliness and reconnecting.
STAFF COMMENTSBarry says: Picture, if you will, a smokey jazz-lounge in the swinging 60's. People are drinking, people are talking, there are staff carrying drinks round on trays one-handed, and the cameras focus in on the singer draped over a piano with a martini glass in her hand, singing longingly to the pianist. That's Molly Burch that is.
In 2013, Vallicelli relocated from the ancient neighbourhood of Trastevere in Rome to the ever-changing Kreuzberg district in Berlin. This dramatic uprooting acted as a catalyst, inspiring him to try and make music on his own. Heavily inspired by the pulsating techno scene of the German capital, Vallicelli began experimenting with synthesizers and drum machines. Recording sounds onto his computer and cassette tapes led him to create a massive collection of loops and samples, sometimes in protracted home sessions where he wouldn’t leave his apartment for days.
For Vallicelli, the transition from playing drums in punk bands to sitting alone in his home studio, working on minimalistic electronic compositions, has dramatically shifted his music career. “Being in charge of everything can be disorienting. Having no other band members to work or fight with… I would end up with hours of music that I would endlessly edit on my computer. It took me years to learn how to limit myself, to finish up a project and move on to something else. But, as soon as I mastered that, I was able to assemble my first album quickly.”
Songs like ‘Michelangelo’ and ‘Frammenti’ were born as techno tracks but, through subtraction, became something different and more representative of the introspective state in which they were created. These two tracks opened up a path for the rest of the music on the Primo, in which most of the songs have no traces of drums or percussive elements, marking a new, liberating way for Vallicelli to make music. The result of three years of experimentation, Primo is ultimately an exercise in self-limitation and discovery.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLP includes MP3 Download Code.
That summer friend and recording engineer Dave Hoser heard some of Newell’s demos and offered to help record them on his 4-track equipment, dubbed ‘The Octopus Mobile’. With some of Newell’s former optimism and energy restored, he put together a new band: the then 23- year-old drummer Michael ‘Stix’ Natkanski, former Gypp bass player Tony Phillips and Braintree guitarist Malcolm Burch (AKA Max Volume). Calling themselves The Stray Trolleys, the music here predates Newell’s work as The Cleaners From Venus and the bulk of the sessions on their sole album, ‘Barricades And Angels’, were recorded at Octopus Studios during spring and summer of 1980. Amazingly, although they had little to no rehearsals, all backing tracks were recorded fairly quickly and everyone got on well, especially in the pub afterwards.
CD and LP digital download card include bonus track ‘Mrs. Killer’.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLP includes MP3 Download Code.
The shining ‘High Flying Faith’ - the first song written for the album - is a refutation of urban weariness, its title perhaps acting as a makeshift motto for the optimism (and stubbornness) that is key to New York bands like EZTV. Inspired by the lyrics of ‘Broken Heart’ by Skip Spence, it’s a 12-string-propelled nugget that best shows how EZTV operate: toeing the line between past and present, with a keen ear for left-of-the-dial experimentation that never lets the songs hew too far into pastiche and genre nostalgia.
Many of the band’s foundational inspirations - the Feelies’ upstart jangle, the upside-down pop architecture of Arthur Russell’s power pop band The Necessaries, Shoes’ aching harmonies - are back in play on ‘High In Place’, their sophomore album, though new instruments and feels abound throughout. Produced and engineered by the band themselves, a baby grand piano rings and 12-string acoustic guitars shimmer throughout the album, recalling the cleareyed production techniques of Jeff Lynne.
Taking advantage of tour stopovers, trips to attend weddings, or even just commandeering someone’s vacation for a few days, EZTV invited some likeminds and fellow songwriters into the studio - Jenny Lewis, Chris Cohen, Martin Courtney and Matt Kallman of Real Estate, John Andrews of Quilt, Nic Hessler and Mega Bog - to guest on ‘High In Place’.
Aptly recorded on a tape machine purchased from a Lower East Side Studio that was going out of business, in a space where the New York City skyline both loomed and inspired through its glass windows, ‘High In Place’ is an album of golden pop songs worthy of any era.
“Low on drama but high on seemingly effortless jangle pop brilliance, [debut] ‘Calling Out’ feels like a long-lost classic and an exciting discovery.” - All Music
“For die-hard collectors of power pop, this album is a welcome treat to even the most seasoned and jaded of ears. And for those hyped up on the modern-day, cookie-cutter, Johnny-come-lately band of the moment emulating the sound of new wave? This is an absolute textbook essential listening experience.” – All Music
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CD Box Set Info: 2xCD comes in hardback book style packaging.
Whether the finished album lives up to Dinner’s vision only Dinner knows. Musically, the album exists in its own space between the 1980s, 1990s and the present. The songs are pop songs held together by somewhat idiosyncratic arrangements.
Opener ‘Cool As Ice’ sounds like the soundtrack to David Lynch directing ‘Miami Vice’ with overdriven synthetic strings and an equally eerie and funky slap bass that slowly grow into a pop structure.
‘Turn Me On’ invokes the feeling of Sade recorded on VHS fronted by Klaus Nomi’s baryton-possessed ghost, or a warped jingle from The Home Shopping Network.
The song ‘Lie’ has distinct Nico-esque undertones and John Cale-ish overtones wrapped in 1980s melancholy, while ‘Wake Up’ and ‘The World’ explore inverted 90s Euro-pop.
In the words of mix-engineer Filip Nicolic (Poolside), “The whole album sounds like Chimo Bayo produced by Marquis de Sade.” An even more concise definition of Dinner comes from labelmate Mac Demarco: “Great face, great body, great tunes.”
FORMAT INFORMATIONLP includes MP3 Download Code.
From an early age, Jamil’s father, a R&B Radio DJ, exposed him to jazz, blues, and R&B. This pushed him to get involved in the city’s local music scene early on in his youth. In his teens, he embraced the punk and metal scene in his hometown of Raleigh, NC; genres that would later go on to influence Rashad’s songwriting by way of their tight technical precision and power. After an art school education and several stints in local bands, Jamil rediscovered and returned to his first true love: funk.
Boulevards evokes a spirit from a time that combined intricate production with a focus on rhythm and getting people back on the dancefloor. With Groove!, Boulevards does just that. On tracks like “Patience”, Rashad melds pop with vintage hip-hop elements - think Eddie Murphy meets The Sugarhill Gang - and it just works. “Cold Call” introduces a slow hypnotic groove before a symphony of synths, creating a rhythmic cadence that stays with you even after the party is over. However, to give 'Groove!' merit solely based on nostalgia would be a mistake. Groove! is not just a rework of a classic sound - it is an intelligent collection, an evolution to reign in a new era of funk - heard via the disco pulses on tracks like “Weekend Love” and “Up On Your Love”, nodding to industry giants like Pharrell and Breakbot.
Bringing back producers Roller Girl! and Taste Nasa, who helped craft his critically received self-titled EP. 'Groove!' delivers catchy songwriting, infectious bass lines, and plenty of hooks to keep you grooving until dawn, a clear indicator that there is still room for funk in 2016 - and that room will be occupied by Boulevards.
It should come as no surprise that many of the songs on ‘Palana’ are concerned with shifting characters, forms and ideas. The album’s title itself is a nod to Hilton’s given Sanskrit name, an identity she shed completely after high school in favour of the androgynous ‘Charlie’ and Palana’s overarching theme can be summed up by a quote from Hermen Hesse’s Steppenwolf, a phrase Hilton cites as a personal mantra: “Man is not by any means of fixed and enduring form… he is much more an experiment and a transition”
Enlisting Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Jacob Portrait as producer, Hilton freely experimented with diverse sounds and moods - some minimal and some cacophonous - out of the confines of a band structure. ‘Funny Anyway’ is truly stark, featuring only string accompaniments, with Hilton assuming a role akin to a confessional French chanteuse, while ‘Let’s Go To A Party’ is Hilton’s cheeky take on an icy dance track with thick, bouncing synths and a chorus that echoes “I’m only happy when I’m dancing.” Alternatively, tracks like ‘Pony’ harken back to the psychedelic strengths of Blouse, saluting bands like Broadcast and United States Of America and then there’s ‘100 Million’, the sole track produced by Woods’ Jarvis Taveniere that rounds out the album in a soft, acoustic and light-hearted way with labelmate Mac DeMarco lending his talents on percussion and back-up vocals.
This wide range of moods on ‘Palana’ recall several of Hilton’s key influences - the solemn beauty of Nico, the whimsical nature of Marc Bolan and the naïveté of Jonathan Richman - but the album is undeniably the work of one artist, perhaps best summed up by the artist herself: “The music on this record is diverse, but so is the inside of a person. I feel like I’m many people.”
STAFF COMMENTSAndy says: A very good record that's hard to pin down, as it mixes lots of styles from krautrock grooves, dream-pop floatiness, psych and library sounds, blending the electronic with the organic in such a clever way. Stereolab fans will love this.
All Yours is ambitious without feeling labored-over, anchored in the strengths of Widowspeak’s consistent influences. There are those familiar Morricone- come-Verlaine guitar passages, moody and country-tinged instrumentation, watery tremolo, velvety stacked vocals. You can hear Molly’s affection for The Cranberries and The Sundays in the wavering melodies of “Dead Love” or “Girls”, and Rob’s adoration of George Harrison and Robbie Robertson in his brilliantly economical guitar playing. The result is an aesthetically diverse and profoundly nostalgic sound; indebted to past eras without feeling dated.
After many line up changes, the band chose to work again with Jarvis Taveniere, who produced their self-titled debut in 2011. They also enlisted him and drummer Aaron Neveu (both of whom play in Woods) as the studio rhythm section. The presence of Taveniere and Neveu contributes a groove that wasn’t there previously, and there’s a few other new things: the swell of strings at critical moments, and for the first time, voices beyond Molly’s own. We finally get to hear Rob sing in the earnestly laid-back “Borrowed World.” Members of psych outfit Quilt contribute harmonies and keys throughout the record, most notably in “My Baby’s Gonna Carry On”, and “Cosmically Aligned”.
Perhaps All Yours is so refreshing because it’s a return to form. It’s a record that feels as effortlessly unplanned as their debut, that serves to capture a moment rather than create one.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLP includes MP3 Download Code.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLP includes MP3 Download Code.
With a pool of over 30 demos to work with and Jarvis Taveniere of Woods onboard to produce, the band headed to Thump Studios in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, to record their debut al;bum for Captured Tracks. The result is ‘Calling Out’, a cohesive 12 song statement in the long tradition of fully realized debuts, stripped of artifice but full of hooks and songwriting chops.
Tracks like ‘The Light’ exhibit what you would call the EZTV mantra: presenting songs with only the required embellishments. They’ve got one foot firmly planted in classic American power pop and college rock while the other utilizes more left-of-the-dial sonic experimentation. The result is a sound that’s both familiar and new but always about the songs.
In an era of independent music with a lot more emphasis placed on story and meaningless Twitter feuds, EZTV present a record that speaks for itself. It’s an album made for an audience that doesn’t want or need any kind of angle or controversy but desires songs that resonate and have a lasting appeal, something available here in spades.
“[‘Calling Out’] was recorded with assistance from Jarvis Taveniere, member of perennial folk crew Woods, and one of the Brooklyn guitar-pop scene’s most reliable producer-engineers. Based on ‘Calling Out’s feel-good first single, ‘The Light’, it seems like it was a fruitful collaboration; despite being hinged on pretty sparse instrumentation - including a string of stoned, earworm-y guitar solos—the song sounds big and warm.” - The Fader
His songwriting continued through his teens and into his 20s, when he purchased a Sony reel-to-reel recorder and 12 string guitar. It is this early songwriting that led him working with a wide variety of musicians, recording in beautiful studios and forming his many projects such as Cleaners From Venus and Brotherhood Of Lizards but it was this early songwriting and recording that led him to find that he was happiest when recording by himself, with minimal equipment. As Newell often says, “Actually, I preferred the demos.”
Having upgraded himself from reel-to-reel to a Tascam Pocketstudio and digitizing some of his archaic recording knowledge, Newell set out to begin home recording again. The tracks on this collection run from 2010 to mid 2014. Some are recordings based loosely on movie themes and soundtracks for imaginary films. Some are instrumentals from a collection called ‘The Late District’, while others are from a recent album, ‘Return To Bohemia’, which saw a small release in England.
This recent resurgence in creative strength, along with the success and newfound popularity of Cleaners From Venus, have all led up to ‘Teatime Assortment’. Think of it as a ‘Best Of New Newell’.
A true wordsmith, Newell himself has put simply why one might be compelled to take a listen here: “If you’re the sort of person who likes this kind of thing, then this is the sort of thing you’ll probably like.”
After the deal with Beserkly fell through, Walsh returned to The Apartments, leaving The Go-Betweens as a three piece. They went on to affectionately write a song for Walsh, entitled "Don't Let Him Come Back", which included the line "Here he comes, with his twelve o'clock junk...who's that dressed in black? Who's that in his apartment?". Things weren't sour between the two bands and The Apartments recorded their first EP, "Return of the Hypnotist" on The Go-Between's Able Label. But before the EP was even released, The Apartments broke up and Walsh left for New York City. During his time in NYC, Walsh played mustic with a number of bands and recorded many songs that would serve as demos for future releases for the still defunct Apartments.
Returning to Australia in 1984, Walsh got the band back together and recorded a few singles, including "All You Wanted". All the while the band were also recording demos, which led to a record deal with London's legendary Rough Trade Records, prompting Walsh to move to London. It was there that he recorded his first proper LP, "The Evening Visits... And Stays for Years". The album received strong praise and drew comparisons to a wide range of acts such as Cocteau Twins, Nick Drake and Bob Dylan. The NME said of the record "after whetting our appetites with last year's classic import single 'All You Wanted' The Apartments have stunned us to a reverential silence. This album is a pure heart-wrencher, and should only be listened to after dark.".
Although The Apartments and Walsh continued to tour and record with a variety of line ups, it is these early works that provide a definitive look at their sound. Available all together for the first time, Captured Tracks are pleased to present "The Evening Visits... And Stays for Years" along with "The Return of the Hypnotist", the "All You Wanted" single and a collection of demos from "The Evening Visits...". Complete with liner notes by Robert Forster and Walsh himself, this incredible collection of Walsh's first seven years of recordings is not to be missed.
FORMAT INFORMATION2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.
Alex Calder’s sophomore release with Captured Tracks is as familiar as it is foreign - bringing together infectious melodies and texture to create tidy, acid-induced pop sequences.
‘Strange Dreams’ takes a confident step forward from Calder’s previous release and brings the focus and ambition of Alex’s songwriting to all aspects of his music. The record delivers, while still maintaining the youthful humour that has become his trademark.
Tight rhythms tie down whirling guitars, sparkling textures bounce off of timeless melodies and ambition beyond humble means are realized on Alex Calder’s latest album. Ghostly vibes find their way into his songs that possess a certain sense of urgency, as is unmistakably evident on his lead single, title track ‘Strange Dreams’.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLP includes MP3 Download Code.
Commencing their breakout 2012 debut ‘The Feeling’, Naomi Punk return to the fold with their sophomore record ‘Television Man’, their first for Captured Tracks.
Key fixtures in the Northwest DIY punk scene, Naomi Punk channel a similar energy to their contemporaries (Milk Music, Broken Water, Vexx, Gag) and their fore bearers (Wipers, Dead Moon, Nirvana) while cultivating a body of work and aesthetic that is wholly their own.
Recorded at home in Olympia, Washington over Autumn and Winter 2013 and mastered by Rick Fisher at RFI, ‘Television Man’ is a collection of oblique punk anthems and collaged instrumental pieces which best showcase the cathartic aggression that has become the band’s signature.
FORMAT INFORMATIONCD Box Set Info: The beautiful CD foldout wallet with booklet includes original liners written by Newell himself with unreleased photos.
Milk n Cookies are the stuff of legends – or would be legends.
Forming in the early 70s on Long Island, NY this power pop group was originally signed to Island Records and seemed destined for greatness. Yet through many cases of wrong place wrong time the band never managed to break. The core line up of the band was made up of Ian North, Justin Stauss, Sal Maida and Mike Ruiz and in their time they played classic NYC venues like CBGB’s & Max’s Kansas City and shared bills with everyone from Talking Heads to The Ramones.
The band have amassed a cult following influencing the likes of Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) and Debbie Harry (Blondie).
Consider this 7” a small taste of what’s to come from Captured Track’s deluxe 3xLP reissue.
Limited to 100 copies for the UK and Ireland.
After the August release of their new LP ‘To The Happy Few’, shoegaze pioneers Medicine continue to embellish their return from an 18 year hiatus with this radio session at Part Time Punks.
Following their first show in nearly two decades, Medicine add to an already rich creative and sonic legacy which has seen singer Beth Thompson, guitarist/vocalist Brad Laner, and drummer Jim Goodall continually challenge the barriers of melody and noise in their LPs ‘Shot Forth Self Living’ (1992), ‘The Buried Life’ (1993) and ‘Her Highness’ (1995).
This beautiful, very limited tri-color wax LP is only available for RSD.
Limited to 200 copies for the UK and Ireland.
The lead single, "Passing Out Pieces," set to huge overdriven organ chords, contains lines like "..never been reluctant to share, passing out pieces of me.." Clearly, this isn't the same record that breezily gave us "Dreamin," and "Ode to Viceroy" but the result of what comes from their success. "Chamber of Reflection," a track featuring icy synth stabs and soulful crooning, wouldn't be out of place on a fantasy Shuggie Otis and Prince collaboration. Standout tracks like these show Mac's widening sound, whether insights into future directions or even just welcome one-off forays into new territory.
Still, this is musically, lyrically and melodically good old Mac DeMarco, through and through. The same crisp John Lennon/Phil Spector era homegrown lush production that could have walked out of Geoff Emerick's mixing board in 1972, but with that peculiar Mac touch that's completely of right now.
STAFF COMMENTSRyan says: Having set the tone with his second album ‘2’ back in 2012 with an ode to cheap cigarettes and song after song of whimsical ambivalence, Mac Demarco offers up some fresh delights for us to sink our teeth into. This time there’s a few darker moments from the haunting synthpop masterpiece “Chamber Of Reflection” to a frosty “Passing Out Pieces” revealing the toll touring the world has taken on him. When Demarco isn’t passing out pieces he takes the time to dish out some of his best gap-toothed advice yet with “Let Her Go” and “Treat Her Better” topping it all off with his usual brand of crooning vocals, languid guitars and those ridiculously funky basslines, a definite step up from the last album. Mac takes things a little (only a tiny bit) more seriously this time and pulls off his best record yet!
Since releasing their 4 song demo cassette I Have Lost All Desire for Feeling in late 2013, Perfect Pussy have taken the music world by storm. Their harsh yet refreshing lyrics paired with the assaulting vocals of singer Meredith Graves drew in audiences from all crowds. While often muffled by the wall of sound built buy the guitar, bass, drums and synth, it is the brutal truths of Graves’ lyrics and the power of her live delivery that has had everyone from Rolling Stone to Pitchfork to The New York Times praising the power of this rising band. With Say Yes to Love Perfect Pussy have begun to hone their sound while retaining the rough around the edges noise that first drew listeners in. The first track, “Driver”, grabs the listner and drags them into the chaotic world of this brief but powerful album. The songs kick and punch but it is the dense, honest lyrics that will make the listener feel the most. Filled with conflict and confidence and despare and desire, these are songs that stay with the listener long after the album has ended.
“These punk kids from the mean streets of Syracuse, New York, deliver high-energy slabs of mayhem-friendly post punk noise, a wall of guitar and Casio. Meredith Graves knows how to run her mosh pit like a dictator runs a birthday party.” Rolling Stone.
“In just four short songs, Perfect Pussy has spoken more truths than many artists with 20-year-spanning discographies, and with news of a debut full-length in the works, now is probably a good time to start bracing yourselves. It might get a little uncomfortable, but trust me, the shake-up is worth it.” Complex.
“One of the boldest new rock bands.” Pitchfork.
FORMAT INFORMATIONCD Info: Deluxe CD packaging with O-card and 8 page booklet and download card featuring bonus live tracks..
“If you are in a rock band in 2012, it often feels like the best possible goal you could have for yourself is figuring out how to translate all your energy and emotion into every song you release in a sort of whatever-minute cathartic release of angst and anger and/or happiness or whatever else. Naomi Punk are great at this.” – The FADER.
Using Primitive Radio God's "Standing Outside A Broken Telephone Booth With Money In My Hand" as a sonic touch point John built a new album from the ground up utilizing chopped/sampled drum breaks and, for the first time, some non laptop based keyed instruments(piano, mellotron) along with H.B. main stays classical guitar and steel drums. Live member Christian Barsi and Daniel Schlett of Strange Weather Studio both contributed keys to a few songs but the outcome is still a very solo sounding project.
Arrangements is where PROMINENCE shines. Managing to sound inventive and not quite like anything else with such a limited palette is a rare and commendable feat. From the slide guitar and pulsing nylon string samples of "Honest" to the flamingo call and deep kick combo of the 2nd half of "Complete" Heavenly Beat keeps the whole affair sounding fresh, interesting and natural. Lyrically, PROMINENCE is not an escapist affair. It's a very direct look into someone dealing with poor body image(Thin), infidelity(Honest) and emotional/physical/sexual recklessness(Prominence). It's not asking or answering any questions. Just existing within itself.
“The Swamps is a six-song collection that’s intended to act as a bridge between Almanac and the band’s as-yet-untitled third album; “True Believer” is the penultimate song to appear on the EP’s tracklisting, and it finds Molly Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas pushing their sound even further in a warm, lush direction, with a sliding melody that sounds almost tropical in construct.” – Pitchfork
“ It’s truly, sweepingly lovely. People would go insane if Mazzy Star dropped a new track tomorrow, but nothing Mazzy Star might do in 2013 could be more beautiful than what Widowspeak are actually doing right here. Thus, people should be going insane about this.” – Stereogum
As it happens, it’s really all the fault of Captured Tracks. In 2012 C/T pulled off the seemingly impossible and secured the rights to reissue the aforementioned two original Medicine LPs in loving and expanded fashion. This was a rather emotional moment for the original band members. So much so that upon meeting up at Brad’s home studio in May 2012 for the first time since 1995 in order to divide up the vinyl goodies and ultra-limited box sets, the trio laid down the basic track for what became the final song on the new LP. Emboldened by the natural ease with which they slipped back into Medicine mode, the trio spent the remainder of the year leisurely recording the new LP and enjoying each other’s company far removed from the stress and turmoil of their original early 90’s run. The resulting LP is not your parent’s Shoegaze record. The sonic palette and the hands, feet and mouths that utilize it may be the same, but the end result more subtly reflects the amassed life experiences and refined aesthetics of three mature artists only just now approaching the peak of their powers.
The members of Medicine stayed quite busy with music in the interim between 1995 and 2012: Jim Goodall recorded and toured with his legendary evil country western band Jon Wayne which had its first LP reissued by Jack White’s Third Man label. He also toured as a member of UK noise gods Whitehouse and recorded with Current 93. Beth Thompson made a collaborative album as The Shway and performed with The Furry Things. Brad Laner has released a bunch of solo and collaborative LPs under various names and recorded with the likes of Brian Eno, M83, Caribou and Blinker The Star.
“Long As The Sun” is the first song that we’re sharing from the new Medicine LP. It simultaneously references the origins of the band and explodes into brand new territory. An exuberant, belligerently pounding carnival of sound and harmony. A joyful acceptance of something that just simply works. Noise for beauty’s sake. You know, Medicine.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLP includes MP3 Download Code.
The result is not just a romantic trip into isolation, but a melodic and warm experience to immerse yourself in. It’s a pop record, with all the hooks and harmonies you’d expect from that, delivered with experience, depth and hope.
The escapist mentality of the location directly and literally affected “Tides End,” as the LP is named for a beachfront estate Sonny had wandered upon one day while out for a drive. Occupied by one family for generations, who after financial decline, are now forced to sell all they own. The experience of seeing old East Coast wealth, surrounded by beautiful Rococo paintings yet no modern appliances was the initial spark to record the LP. Kilfoyle himself purchased a portrait “Margot,” which inspired and named one of the LP’s catchiest tracks.Visions of sipping gin and lemonade’s on the dunes with their future in peril could be Something clearly reflected in the choruses of “Everything’s Fine” and “Playboys of the Western World.” Themes of affluence, decadence and eventual decay in spite of the outside world are everywhere, even by the skull and shells amidst an explosion of color in the Everest Hall painting that graces the cover. This is “Tides End,” indeed.
Armed with a new arsenal of material, Sonny connected with producer and engineer, Mark Verbos, who had moved to New York from Berlin after a prolific career in techno and electronic music. The entire album was recorded at Mark’s studio, a former electric room in the base of the Brooklyn side of the Williamsburg Bridge. “It was actually a very uninspiring and uncreative but it forced us to use our imagination and find new ways to work together,”says Kilfoyle. So when they encountered a creative impasse they would consult The KLF’s “manual” or Verbos would choose a card from Brian Eno’s “Oblique Strategies.” To clear the cobwebs of influence, the producer chose to only allow Sonny to listen to Seal, Simply Red, Enigma, and early Chicago house music during the recording process. This helped build texture and depth in a recording that blended ambience and immediacy to the established foundation of all the of MINKS’ previous work.
STAFF COMMENTSRyan says: Great new album from Minks! Moving away from the rough, dream pop songs from their previous album and smashing out a solid pop album. Full of catchy hooks & hits.
The idea behind "Lenses" is about breaking out of thought patterns and previously held ways of seeing yourself and the surrounding world. Lenses; a continuation of their ethos aiming directly at your body and subconscious mind with an intimacy that only lovers can bring. The song “Lenses” describes the experience of shifted consciousness with the lyrics “breaking through my perception of you, breaking through my concept of life”. It celebrates the feeling of escape from a mind imprisoned with lack of presence and stuck in habit all set to an earnest beat and lush enigmatic melodies that entwine and seduce.
“Tell Me”, “No Turning Back”, When I Look Into Your Eyes” expresses that nervous, vulnerable feeling of falling for someone, but questioning the reality of the situation asking “Is this love true? Or are we just lost in lust?”, “when you said you loved me, I laid my whole life down”, “When I look into your eyes, I wonder if we’ll meld”. “In the Air”, perhaps the most movement inspiring track of the album, is a dense, pulsating piece about the power of nature, the effects of seasonal changes on all living things that rule over sexuality, productivity, and inspiration- the basis of man’s various forms of mysticism.
His knack and ambition both in his song writing and production provide a solid foundation for Calder's music to drift in an out of psychy realms. There are no over drenched chorus or walls of sound, instead leaving space for melody and texture to beneatly co-existent. Alex has found the sweet spot between slacker-pop jangle and snug rhymtic production to create reassurance his songs are going somewhere. Intimate handclaps and shakers make it easy for one to visualize the living from which it came as Calder's questions what to do with his time both literally and existentially.
On their second album, Almanac, the duo explores denser arrangements and new sonic territory, from Saharan rhythms to Appalachian-inspired melodies, all delivered with stoic, wistful restraint. Named after those annual tomes which provide agricultural advice, chart weather patterns and astronomocal phenomena, Almanac likewise tracks the life and death of seasons, youth, love, and the cyclical nature of all things.
The album was recorded by Kevin McMahon (Swans, Real Estate) in a hundred year old barn in the Hudson River Valley of New York State during the transition from summer to fall. Producing with McMahon, Thomas expanded on the band’s demos, crafting layers of guitar, Rhodes piano, organ and harmonium.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLP includes MP3 Download Code.
STAFF COMMENTSRyan says: His first full album, full of quirky garage gems, slightly odd but in a good way... I think it's awesome anyway.
The resulting album is a thing of raw beauty, its melancholy melodies shining through the fuzz and filth, singers Joe and Hayley crushing you with emotion throughout. “Each song,” says Joe, “is a little snapshot of whatever feelings and thoughts were happening at the time. Often I’ll start a song and it’ll begin with some sad stuff about an ex-girlfriend or something and then by the end I’m writing about time travel. I connect all the parts and make it flow. I think it’s a short attention span thing, don’t focus too long on one subject.”
Based in Tooting, South London, Dignan Porch began with Joe recording what he describes as “weird fuzzy pop songs” on a basic Tascam 8-track recorder, a collage of ideas and layered melodies that touched on noise-pop, psychedelic garage rock and melancholic folk. “The name ‘Dignan Porch’ doesn’t mean anything,” says Joe (in case you were wondering). “It’s just a combination of two words that at the time of creation, seemed to capture the vibe of the band.” Quaint as it seems now, the music was discovered on MySpace by Brooklyn’s tastemaking Captured Tracks label, who released Tendrils in 2010. Dignan Porch are not just the only UK band to be signed to Captured Tracks, they’re also the only band in the stable to release a second album on the same. Band and label both share a distinctly DIY ethos: keyboard player/singer Hayley supplies the artwork for Nothing Bad Will Ever Happen, and they all work together to create their own music videos, screen print their own T-shirts, and book their own tours. “We do everything apart from release the records,” says Joe. With Captured Tracks behind them, that’s a pretty good way to be.
“Heavenly Beat is the solo project of Beach Fossil’s John Pena, described in a super-adept pun by Oh My Rockness as ‘piña colada pop.’ Pena sings about being hurt inside and out, but the party drums and guitars suggest only good times. The perfect song is a little of both.” The Fader.
STAFF COMMENTSRyan says: Noticably different from his work in Beach Fossils, Jon Pena shows us what he's made of. Songs like Faithless just trigger super-8 movies in my head of people running into waves and it just looks like the most fun ever.
half string’s first demo was hand delivered to Independent Project Records’ Bruce Licher during the summer of 1992. Impressed, Licher released the three songs as the Eclipse 7” single on his revered post-punk fine art imprint. Matt Kruse joined on second guitar in 1993, adding another layer of texture and intricate melody to the band’s broadening sound. This was evident on “Oval,” half string’s second single, and the subsequent Tripped Up Breathing EP, both released by IPR in 1994. Patterson left the band that winter, and was replaced by Dave Rogers, a multi-instrumentalist who added backing vocals. In 1995, Germany’s Pop Goes On! and IPR co-released Eclipse*Oval*Hue, a CD mini-album collecting together the first two singles along with three unreleased tracks. Later that same year, the group recorded their debut album, A Fascination With Heights. Issued by IPR in 1996, this would be half string’s last release before the band parted amicably the following summer.
DeMarco's a weird cat cultivating an affinity for occult imagery, nudity and social satire. But his most impressive trait is his undeniable and instinctual ability to compose magical pop jangles, of which he'll likely refer to as "jizz jazz". His dusted jams have garnished him accolades that are as ever-increasing as his song writing abilities; his sound rendering comparisons, but in a nomadic fashion alluding no distinct origin. Come March DeMarco's debut solo EP entitled Rock And Roll Night Club will ramble into the great unknown guided by Captured Tracks, DeMarco's inner Elvis a tow.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLP includes MP3 Download Code.
From beginning to end, Shot Forth Self Living is more than a listening experience. It makes your spine tingle and blood hum with its power. This brash and uncompromising masterpiece is a rebel force amongst shoegaze classics. Noted as the American take on the genre. As part of the Captured Tracks Shoegaze Archives, everything has been remastered and an expanded version of the album offered on a 2XCD.
The LP version includes the original release's tracks as well as "Faded" and "Own Two Feet", all songs on vinyl for the first time. CD has 6 tracks of unreleased material also. (Vinyl comes with DL code that has all tracks).
After two stirring 7" releases and the aforementioned debut album, it was apparent that Vasquez was digging his own niche, an intimate well-spoken whisper, carrying a heavy load of synths that creep and drums that command an uncontrollable pull from within. This intimate peak into another world, Vasquez' mind, has garnered a number of comparisons to some of the most iconic and influential bands of the post punk and krautrock movements.
Live, the band takes on Justin Anastasi and Damon Way to help transform the listening experience cogently with an array of sound and light effects that translate the energy of the recordings. 'Total Decay' solidifies that the Soft Moon is on its own path, not to be compared. Just listen, hold the shadow of his hand on this journey into the darkness, as he whispers directions through the obstacles, to the light...
To say that Widowspeak is a Northwest band is to tell a halftruth. After all they formed in a Brooklyn apartment thousands of miles to the east, and their guitarist has never even seen the Pacific Ocean. There are aspects of the band's sound— abrasive guitar hooks, immediate drumming, and incessant codas—that speak to living in a big city. But there's also a dreary sparseness, a David Lynch-esque darkness, culled from the other members’ native Washington.
Singer/songwriter Molly Hamilton grew up in an old house in Tacoma, drummer Michael Stasiak in nearby Lakewood. While grunge put Seattle on the map and Riot Grrl and the DIY aesthetic are synonymous with Olympia, Tacoma remains grittier, darker even. Infamous for the acrid smell of its paper mills, this blue-collar city somehow fosters a fertile music community—if few outsiders know about it. Michael and Molly first crossed paths in that tight-knit scene, both contributing to a local compilation label. The label lasted all of one summer before half its roster decamped for New York.
There, three summers later, Michael approached Molly about starting a new band. Molly’s crippling stage fright and inexperience with the electric guitar seemed good excuses to decline, but at Michael’s urging she bought a used Danelectro and put pen to paper. Soon after, Michael invited guitarist Robert Earl Thomas to a tentative first practice. Though Robert had to plug his guitar into the stereo, and Michael played only two drums, something was palpable in that first hour. They chose a name Molly had picked months before, and Widowspeak was born.
The band’s skeletal sound began to take shape, with Robert’s rust-belt guitar parts lending a restless, sinister edge to Molly's subdued melodies and soft vocal style. Writing became a collaborative ef fort, and Widowspeak racked up an arsenal of songs. By fall the trio had recorded a six-track cassette using only a built-in laptop microphone and Garageband. The self-released October Tape, as it was called, fell into the hands of Brooklyn’s Captured Tracks. Weeks later, after only their sixth show, Widowspeak recorded the 7” single, “Harsh Realm,” in anticipation of a full LP.
That album, recorded at Rear House with Jarvis Taveniere of Woods, documents Widowspeak’s inaugural year. In a relaxed studio setting songs born from those first jittery practices could breathe. The trio expanded their modest instrumentation while retaining a sparse aesthetic. The resulting record of fers an eerie ambience, at times channeling 1950's jukebox pop, at others, 1960’s psychedelia. While garnering comparisons to slow-moving 1990's acts such as Mazzy Star or Cat Power, Widowspeak have defined a sound that's earnestly nostalgic, and increasingly confident. Even so, these are songs about heartache. They are songs about homesickness, about longing for pine forests, reckless youth, and dark nights in strange cities.
STAFF COMMENTSDarryl says: A truly wonderful album on the continuingly excellent Captured Tracks label. Sparse, moody, uneasy and intimate music coupled with the honey dripped sultry vox of Molly Hamilton. Like a cross pollination of Mazzy Star, an upbeat The XX and Twin Peaks.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLtd LP includes MP3 Download Code.
What began as a collaboration between songwriters soon budded into a passionate love affair. Song lyrics became secret messages, with which Patricia confessed her developing affection for Ian. The Portland-based duo's first five original works together, which became the EP "The Cold World Melts", released on Captured Tracks, is a time capsule of this courtship. This summer marks the release of their first full length, a self-titled release with Captured Tracks.
The album is a further expression of their romance, but now - 2 years into their relationship - the two are looking a bit more outward. They explore fantastical soundscapes which conjure the dramatic cinematic worlds of Dario Argento, Roman Polanski, Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, and the Czech New Wave. Ultra-saturated colors with a touch of noir, opulent architecture, and mysterious femmes all spring to mind. From the deep examinations of the human psyche found in Adam Curtis documentaries (the subject matter of their track "Psychic Driving"), to the controversial bridge between science and the soul via Carl Sagan and Ray Kurzweil, the duo revels in the trans-formative power of love, knowledge, and imagination. The outcome of all this is a collection of bittersweet electronic pop songs balanced by a delicate surrealism, a patient sense of experimentation that leaves you floating in your subconscious and moving to the beat.
The sonic landscapes are sleek, but never icy. Even at her most dreamlike, Patricia's vocals reach an eerie beauty that is always deeply emotional. This emotional force is mirrored in her lyrics. For example, the gloriously cinematic "Voices" features our heroine conquering her inner narrative of fear and weakness and finding the vitality to achieve her dreams. In "Pain," Hall sings the word with an almost brazen confidence. "It's that pain," she coos, in a song about the sometimes oceanic distance that develops between two souls, as though her familiarity with pain is so deep that she can begin to play with it. Finally, the vintage synthesizers and drum machines evoke a Space Age dreamer's vision of the future as evidenced most clearly in the gorgeously atmospheric "Celestial Call". Soft Metals have a strange nostalgia for a place not yet visited - a place where we live among the stars.
STAFF COMMENTSDarryl says: Superb synthwave pop that incorporates elements of Italo disco, house and early industrial music. On the always reliable Captured Tracks label.
"There are relatively few labels left whose logo can be considered a true stamp of approval, but for many people Captured Tracks is one of those. Hoop Dreams fit perfectly into their roster; a band from Virginia that sound like they could be from Manchester, they make clattering, slightly neurotic pop songs in the vein of a deconstructed Cure." - The Line of Best Fit (Song of the Day).
STAFF COMMENTSLaura says: Yet another gem from Captured Tracks! Clattering, jangling, melodic pop, with nods to everything from Postcard Records to Joy Division.
FORMAT INFORMATIONLtd 12" includes MP3 Download Code.
Mike Sniper never meant to be one of Brooklyn’s ‘most mysterious musicians’. Things just ended up that way, as the singer/multi-instrumentalist released a steady stream of limited singles and EPs on such reputable indie labels as Sacred Bones, HoZac and Woodsist. Not to mention’s Sniper’s own Captured Tracks imprint - a carefully-curated roster that’s grown as quickly as Blank Dogs itself, thanks to such buzz-stirring releases as Dum Dum Girls’ debut EP and recent records by Beach Fossils, Wild Nothing and Minks.
'The anonymous thing happened in the very beginning because I didn’t even have a backing band to play shows with', explains Sniper. 'It led to some ridiculous rumors - that I wear a mask onstage, that I'm Stephen Malkmus…funny stuff'.
Another common misconception about Blank Dogs is that Sniper wanted his early recordings - starting with the speaker-crawling cold sweat cuts of 2007's "Diana The Herald" EP - to sound like a lo-fi gathering of queasy vocals, bruised beats and Chinese water torture chords. The truth is much simpler than that: Blank Dogs’ murkier mixes were purely a matter of having limited means.
Things started to change around his "On Two Sides" (Troubleman, 2008) album, however, as rare slabs of Blank Dogs vinyl landed on the eBay circuit and influential blogs (The FADER, 20jazzfunkgreats) feverishly posted brand new MP3s. Between that cult following and the continued success of Captured Tracks, Sniper was finally able to buy better equipment and develop his sound into an expansive mix of clear (The Cure, Joy Division) and cryptic (The Go-Betweens, Neil Young) influences - a decidedly Blank Dogs direction that touches upon everything from the spare, sparkling synths of France’s cold-wave movement to the jangly guitars of classic indie rock.
All of this progress was made with one particular record in mind: this fall’s "Land and Fixed" LP, a tight 12-song effort that took about a year and 13 scrapped tracks (some of which ended up on the "Phrases" EP) to complete. The result isn’t just a clearer recording; it’s like going from stolen cable on a 15-inch set to a wall-swallowing HDTV. A headphone listen, in other words - literally mixed on the subway to enhance widescreen details like the heat-seeking hooks of “Blurred Tonight”, the elegantly-layered arrangements of “Out the Door”, and the moonlit synth melodies of “Elevens”.
As it turns out, the next phase of Blank Dogs is an instrumental Woodsist record in the vein of “Elevens”. Sniper says he’s 'pretty psyched for it', a dance 12-inch for Italians Do It Better and sessions with Blank Dogs’ live trio, which is rounded out by Craig Mileski and Pamela Garavano-Coolbaugh.
'We’re definitely more of a ‘band’ now', insists Sniper, although one thing hasn’t changed: he still isn’t Stephen Malkmus.
'Thru the gates of forever and into the frozen vapours of Mannattan's minimal electronic monolith in the night, Further Reductions, Shawn O'Sullivan (of Led Er Est knowings) and collaborator Katie Rose are weaving a web of reverberatory wonderment. One of not just a few of the minimal synth couple outfit armies to emerge from New York's ever living and breathing clan of the same epithet, this masculine/feminine dream drone dichotomy's synthesized incantations drift like gleaming analogue jewels of dark incandescent dance dew. Voices with the echoes of youth sung wistfully into in the well and steeped in the myst of minor discord float inside Familiar Flights'. - La Maladie Tropicale.
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